Senator Snowe has consistently supported a robust and muscular American engagement in foreign affairs; the events of September 11th 2001 demonstrated one thing more clearly than any other: retreating behind the walls of “Fortress America” cannot keep us safe. The United States must always reserve the right and capability to act in its defense – collegially with other nations whenever possible, but alone where necessary.
- “The defense of our Nation is one of the most sacred responsibilities of the Federal Government. “Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” is a meaningless concept unless we have the desire and the
ability to defend those rights against those who would subvert them …Let us make no mistake. The world is still a volatile and dangerous place.” (Congressional Record, 1/22/1997, pp.S620-S621)
- Senator Snowe supported US intervention in Iraq and Afghanistan, actions which led directly to the institution of democratic regimes in those nations, freeing millions from regimes of tyranny and oppression, which are the building blocks of terrorist recruitment.
- Speaking in support of US intervention in Iraq, believed at the time to be in possession of Weapons of Mass Destruction:“Diplomacy must constitute our first line of defense; but in the event that actions become necessary to safeguard our national security interests…Let there be no mistake: the President must exert the last full measure of effort in building an international coalition to join us in disarming Saddam Hussein.I have come to the regrettable conclusion that if we allow the Iraqi regime to continue developing its horrific capabilities with impunity, we are endangering mankind by sending a corrosive message: that the stockpiling of weapons of mass destruction buys immunity from international response. If [we] offer nothing but disapproving rhetoric or ineffective sanctions as the only price for hostility and defiance, then we concede a victory to the tactics aggression.“ (US Senate Floor speech, 10/9/2002)
- Supports US efforts to broker and equitable peace between Israelis and Palestinians.
- Urging caution in decisions to scale back the US military under President Clinton:“I believe we are relying on a flawed approach to achieve the savings from infrastructure reductions that have yet to be realized, and we are finding that the Defense Department is spending billions of dollars on contingency operations which have little or no relevance to our vital national interests, and yet we are willing to cut the heart out of our military infrastructure within our sovereign borders without fully evaluating the impact to our national defense.
The fact is I believe that we are on a collision course with less than expected savings from base closings and an increased number of contingency operations that will result in a further degradation of our force readiness and it will delay much needed procurement.” (Congressional Record, 7/9/1997, pp.S7064-S7066)
- Warning against U.S. complacency in the post cold war era, in 1998:“The end of the Cold War has not meant that freedom has suddenly become free-of-charge …Today, we live in a different world–but not one without dangers or threats. Today, we face our own set of challenges–and we must create our own set of solutions.“ (Congressional Record, 4/28/1998, pp.S3705-S3708)
- Speaking in support of NATO enlargement:“In conclusion, NATO enlargement will enhance our national security and the stability of Europe. As my former Senate colleague and current Defense Secretary Bill Cohen stated, ‘a stable Europe is necessary to anchor America’s worldwide presence‘.
The addition of Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic to NATO will mean a stronger NATO, and our approval of this enlargement will show that the United States is ready to do so in the 21st Century what it did for the latter half of this one: be a force, with other democracies, for the protection of freedom today and for the generations to come.“(Ibid.)